A Kihei Garden Newsletter for September

Although it's still hot, September is a good month to start all types of tomatoes from seed. Most of the larger tomatoes need close to 5 months from seed until the first ripe fruits. When planted in September they'll ripen in January or February, normally our coolest months of the year.

Cauliflower and red varieties of cabbage usually need close to 5 months too - September is a good month to start these seeds.

If you're planting your first garden this fall, lots of specific growing information can be found on the side-bar of my blog in the "Growing Tips" column.

Seeds to plant in September:
Cilantro (plant in partial shade)
Cucumbers (plant in partial shade)
Lemongrass - Culianary
Micro-Greens (plant in partial shade)
Onions - Bunching (white varieties)
Sweet Potatoes
Tomatoes (all types) 

Culinary Ginger
If you planted Culinary Ginger in March or April, September is the recommended month to harvest "new ginger". It's so tender at this stage - perfect for slicing paper thin with a vegetable peeler and pickling in rice vinegar. Homemade pickled ginger is typically eaten as a condiment with sashimi or sushi. For more information see my post on Culinary Ginger

I've planted winter squash from mid-January through early September - I don't know how well it grows when planted in the fall. If you're thinking of planting winter squash this month I recommend planting at least 2 of the same variety so there are adequate male flowers for pollination.

Not all cucumbers grow well in the fall due to diminishing daylight. I've found that the Asian varieties are less day length sensitive - unfortunately some are not heat tolerant. My best results in the fall have been with Suyo, a long Chinese cucumber.

September is the month to order or pre-order shallots. Like garlic, they sometimes sell out early. Shallots are normally planted in November or December. Some shallot growers recommend planting on the winter solstice and harvesting on the summer solstice. Ideally they should begin root development during the cooler months of the year. I've had mixed results with shallots - my best results so far were with Dutch Yellow (in the photo at right) but they're become increasingly harder to find.

Good sources for shallots that will ship to Hawaii are Natural Gardening Companyy, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and Territorial SeedsPotato Garden has shallots in their catalog but they can't be purchased online at this time - call or email them them about availability. Shallots from the market can also be planted - look for organic bulbs that are older and starting to sprout.

For information about ordering and planting garlic see the July-August Newsletter.

Destructive Bugs, Larvae & Disease
The melon fruit flies and the moths responsible for the pickleworms are normally still active in September. Until November, I recommend covering the the female cucurbits after the flowers close. Although I had the usual problems with these destructive insects, there was a significant reduction from previous summers. I have a lot more lizards living in my garden this year and they like to hang out near the melon and oriental fruit fly traps waiting for the flies. They may be responsible for the significant reduction in fruit fly and pickleworm larvae this summer.

If you've had problems with mosaic virus, it normally decreases as the weather cools a bit in the fall. Mosaic can infect just about anything and some varieties of plants seem to be more susceptible to this disease.